Meredith: 16 Months

Sweet Meredith,

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Or shall I say, Merry Christmas, Merry? It is a Merry Christmas, and we owe a lot of the Merriness to you. You are just charming and delightful these days (well, and loud and demanding sometimes, too).

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As you grow up you will discover that often men and women do not think the same way. This is for sure: Daddy & I do not often think the same way. But we almost always think the same thing. And one of the things we think together on a very regular basis is how much we deplore TV commercials. Sorry about this tangent; here’s my point: Sometimes in TV commercials you see this preposterously perfect moment, just so obviously staged and ridiculous. I mean, look at those coffee tables with nothing on them! And the baby commercials are the worst. As if babies actually do that stuff.

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But then there was December 1 and you were napping in your crib while we assembled the Christmas tree. And then you weren’t napping anymore and the sun was getting low in a cloudy sky and we turned out the lights and brought you downstairs and you had your first look at Christmas and… Well, this is embarrassing to admit, but it was basically a TV commercial.

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I think what I am saying is, you are impossibly, enchantingly precious. You just sat and wondered and barely breathed for a long time. You clambered into my lap as I sat beside the tree as if to say “The only way to strengthen magic this strong is by human contact.” And then you just kept pointing, and looking, and then looking at me, and everything about you just twinkled right along with the tree. And then your Daddy got in on the action and you just kept twinkling some more while he watched, and we thought “Can you believe how clichĂ© this is!?”

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Anyway, that moment will be in our memories forever, and thank you.

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You are just kinda easy right now. Or maybe that is Jacob’s Mom talking, since Jacob is anything but easy right now. By contrast it seems like you are always chillin’. Except when you get into a tussle with Jacob, and then you both just start shrieking and screaming. You aren’t always the victim, though. Sometimes you just poke him like a bear. You come up, 49% curiosity, and grab a car. Just one car, there were lots, but the knowledge you possess indicts you. You know full well, and I see it in your eyes, that you are calculating the outcome and just as predictable as a TV commercial, he completely flips out and tackles you for that car.

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Then there are the moments when you guys are besties. Mornings when he fills your crib with every moveable object in your bedroom is not one of those moments. But the moments when you peacefully, calmly co-exist. And the moments when you decide to be funny and start chasing each other and wrestling. And that predictable moment after I get you up from your nap and you say the first thing to come to your mind – blurt it out like a cheer: “Bahbub!!” You love your Bahbub so much.

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Let me list the other things you love lately. There is still the small matter of The Three Little Pigs, but it is being eclipsed a bit by your obsession with The Wheels on the Bus, a pint-sized golden book that you bring to me with big eyes and a violently swinging arm, signing “round and round” in your baby way. So we sing the song and you do all the motions and sometimes you get so excited you just cycle through them all one after the other during a single verse.

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You love to read any books and you love animals and discussing animal sounds. The rule of thumb here is getting increasingly complex. While it used to be common knowledge that all animals say Moo, now it is a definite possibility that at any given moment any one animal might say “Moo” or “Raar” or “Ah! Ah! Ah!” and all we have to do to find out is ask you.

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You love people and you love to put on a show. You just light up like a Christmas tree when there’s someone extra around, and you haven’t grown up enough that it’s a problem. It just means you are extra sweet, extra cute, and extra happy, because PEOPLE! The growing suspicion I’ve had these last few years that I am an introvert like your Daddy gets challenged by these moments when I wonder, “If I am introvert, whose kid is she?”

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You love the snow! I was worried it would freak you out since you haven’t seemed to like the cold weather, but our first big snow storm came a week ago and you had a ball. We played outside for an hour and when you got tired of being in the snow you’d come to me for a break and I’d hold you while you happily sucked all the snow and ice off your mittens.

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You love your blanket – the pink and yellow one that I made for you before you were born. You like to reach through your crib rails and retrieve it and then cuddle it to your face and then run around the house dragging it with you. It is becoming easy to decipher when you are starting to get tired in the middle of the day because it seems like that’s when your blanket comes to mind. It’s pretty clearly emerging as your comfort item.

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You love to have your hair brushed (but you hate to wear a hairband or clip and even if you had enough hair to keep a clip in, it wouldn’t last 30 seconds because you would yank it out) and you still love to have your teeth brushed. You love to wear your jacket and you adore your mittens and you love clapping your little mittened hands together.

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You’re growing up fast. You rarely nurse anymore, but you also don’t drink much milk in a cup yet, and I am anxious for you to step it up and take in more milk. I guess it’s not anything to worry about. There’s no reason for you to be 97%/97% on the growth charts like your brother. We finally made your 15mo doctor’s appointment last week and you measured at 95% height and around 50% weight. It’s hard to believe, though, since you look like a tiny little pregnant lady, or maybe like you have a serious beer belly, which, by the way, you love to pat, shirt pulled up. The rest of you is skinny, though, and I was just noticing your slender, long, lovely fingers with fascination this afternoon. I grin to think you could have lovely, delicate hands like your Auntie Bethany.

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You are right between 12mo and 18mo sizes and I bought you a few new things this month to fill in the holes in your wardrobe. You are just growing out of being a baby. We keep losing your paci and we leave it lost for a couple days at a time and it’s not a huge deal (except for that one day when you refused to nap in its absence). I’ve put away the high chair, the bumbo that you sat in at the table, the nursing cover, the baby toys… It’s all tucked into the closet for another year, and now you sit at the table on a little wooden bump just like your brother, though I tie you to the chair with an apron so you don’t end up on the floor.

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If I didn’t tie you to the chair you would definitely be on the floor, too. Last week you were on the 48-hour plan for serious boo-boos. Sunday afternoon you fell off our bed right onto your head on the air vent. That one traumatized Daddy even more than it traumatized you. Then Tuesday afternoon you spilled off the curb of the grass onto the sidewalk and took some skin off your forehead. Then Thursday morning you were bumping down the stairs on your butt, a favorite pastime recently, and you tumbled right down the stairs. A friend commented that you’re just like her Anne: Leading with the head. That day you fell down the stairs (a week ago, not the time you fell down them this week) you also tripped on random stuff about a dozen times in 15 minutes. Finally you just needed a good cry and you came over to my lap to weep a bit.

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Not much worries you, but for reasons beyond my understanding you are completely terrified of Jacob’s tiny little animals. He has 60 of them in one little bucket and he plays with them at the table now and then. One time he dumped them out on the floor and you started screaming in horror. I hope when you read this you will laugh, too, since I am laughing as I write it and I was laughing on the inside when you screamed, too. (Sorry.)

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You are a pretty good eater but there have been some very funny moments lately where your inner Princess gets an airing… After some prolonged observations, Daddy & I have concluded that you refuse to eat broken cheerios. Then there was the night I told you “don’t drop it on the floor” as your lettuce was getting rejected and I watched in awe as you just calmly tucked it into your bib instead. Then there’s the genius moments when you are excited about a new food being offered so to make way for it you take whatever’s in your mouth out with your fingers instead of swallowing it. Not a fan of that move.

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Your language hasn’t changed much this month, though your darling “HupMamama!” (“Help, Mommy!” also roughly translates to “I want some of whatever that is be thankful I’m asking nicely and give it here quick” or “This is me not screaming because you said to make sweet sounds.”) has become a household word and now Jacob says it quite frequently. The other thing you like to say is a little stream of nonsense full of Ls and Uhs, made by wiggling your tongue in and out. The cuteness of this mesmerizes me. But despite the fact that you are not adding new words, you are making leaps and bounds in your understanding of our words and I think we’ve reached the point where it’s safe to assume that if we say something you don’t miss a beat.

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This afternoon you were a basket case. I was sitting on the couch writing this note when you started screaming halfway through your nap. In retrospect I am pretty sure it was the two top canines that just popped through the gums today, but I didn’t see those till tonight. Anyway, I went to you with a dose of ibuprofen since the whole lot of us have colds right now. You just screamed and screamed so I brought you downstairs with your blankets and your animals and, to my wonder, you fell asleep on me after awhile. So there I was, captive. I couldn’t pee, couldn’t eat lunch, couldn’t text your Daddy to find out when he’d be home to at least bring me some food or the book I’m supposed to be reviewing, so I could at least be semi-productive on this busy day. Stranded as I was, good sense finally won the day over my stressful inner monologue, and I dozed with you for well over an hour. And in the moments I felt too cold and hungry to sleep I stared at you and enjoyed how you felt, heavy on my body, three times the weight you were when you spent the first month of your life in that spot about 80% of the time. You’re such an extrovert that you only ever sleep in bed, and sometimes in the car, these days. So to get to hold you and watch you sleep was about as magical for me as that Christmas tree was for you and I drank it in, deeply aware of having almost missed the moment in my urge to stay busy.

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The only other particularly deep thought I have had this month, besides “I love your eyes so very very much,” is this: I’ve been noticing that it’s harder to be patient with you than it was with Jacob. I’m not always good at making you feel loved when you make a mess of something out of innocent, sweet curiosity. I want you to have the eager, innocent sense of exploration and adventure that Jacob has always had, but it takes much more self-control with you to hold my tongue when you start pulling all the washcloths out of the kitchen drawer, and I often catch myself having just told you “No” for no good reason. So I’m working on that.

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Also, I love your eyes.

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Love,
Mommy

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